Friday, August 12, 2022


 Regular readers know that I have a favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that people can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoor) near the loading dock where people can put the things they don't want.  I've found quite a few cool items over the last few years.

Here is one of the latest!

So it was recon time and this time I figured I'd get a picture to let you all see where I look.  This is where people put boxes and recyclable type trash.  This was this past weekend.

A Christmas tree part of some sort.  Hmm, maybe a small tree?  Upon closer examination however, I found  another section under a box and then another and yet another.  I gathered them up and took them to the other end by the freight elevators and laid them out.

It is a pre-lit artificial tree.  VERY large.

Four sections (our current one only has three sections and it seems big, you can see it HERE).

Each section plugged into the other and so I did that and plugged it in.

Beautiful white lights all came on except for one side of one section.  This may be why someone discarded it.  The fact that it's August probably also means they were moving out and just decided "remember, the lights don't work in one section" and so they trashed it.

We're hoping that when the time comes to put it up and use it, we can play around with the lights and maybe find a loose wire that will get them to come back on.  But worst case and they don't come on?  Well, we could just add some lights to that one section.

This is my arm stretched upwards as high as I could reach and it's still not to the top.  This tree is easily 10 to 12 feet tall and a large diameter at the base.

Here is a closeup.

It is a good quality tree with different types of branches and even little pinecones as decorations all over.  The lights are LED and white.

Back when my Mom was alive, we had at least two trees every year.  One with personal memories of things (trips, events, etc) and one with standard collected ornaments (like the ones we use now).

We got rid of those two when we took a break on decorating after she passed and now that we're excited to be decorating again, the trees seem to be falling in our laps.  This will become the fourth tree we've found since we moved here.  We now have:

4 foot
6 foot
8 foot
10+ foot

We're thinking of bringing back the tree of memories by using one in the bedroom, a food/cooking theme tree in the kitchen or dining room, a regular large and grand tree with our beautiful ornaments in the living room and a 4th one somewhere else...theme to be decided!

All free discards!  We'll give them a great future.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022


So 2nd Man has a new favorite kitchen appliance...and it's something electric skillet.

Curtis Stone electric skillet
This model is from Curtis Stone (the TV chef).  It came with a rack, a silicone divider and a glass lid.

Electric skillet plug
It's not even anything fancy with digital or LED, it just has the regular old school plug in piece with a rotating knob for keep warm, low, medium and high.

Pork chops and potatoes in electric skillet
Here is a recent meal he did.  Using the silicone divider which just slips in lets you cook two things at the same time.  In this case he just did pork chops on one side and some small potatoes on the other side.  Just salt and pepper seasoning and olive oil on one side and some butter to sauté on the potato side.

Cooking in an electric skillet
It comes out great!
Nice cook on both items.

Sautéing vegetables
He uses it for sautéing veggies when preparing larger dishes and needs a lot of them...

Steaming vegetables in electric skillet
...and for steaming broccoli, asparagus and other veggies when needed for that.

One pot meal in electric skillet
Even one-dish meals like this one with rice, lentils and chicken where it can all cook together at the same time, come out great every time.

It's easy to clean up and while you can put them on the counter anywhere, we just put it on top of the glass stovetop.  We have to smile when we get it out (and it is used very often) knowing that our Moms would be laughing as they said "um, yeah, we used those too..."

Hey, whatever works, right?

Monday, August 8, 2022


Deer, coyotes and now...

One thing we've never had to deal with at the farm are feral hogs.  In many parts of Texas, they are a menace to yards and properties and are a huge problem.

Then we saw this on the trail cam night vision.  What are those things?  Lots of little animals in the yard.  About a dozen that we could make out in the images.

A few nights later, the camera caught this...

....a mother hog and her litter.  They might seem cute but feral hogs can be aggressive and will absolutely destroy a yard.  They root around looking for grubs and things and can just plow through a yard like a bulldozer.  even flowerbeds too.

Image via
This image is from Texas Farm Bureau to show what a couple of dozen feral hogs did to a property in a single night and here is another one...

Image via
...the front yard of a home in a neighborhood.
We are hoping though that because we are in a drought, the yard is dry and the ground is hard as a rock, we will be OK, for now.  They are doing what they can to find food and hopefully just passing through.

However, they can also be very aggressive.  In all the time we've had the property, we've never had to deal with this and 2nd Family said they haven't either.  Perhaps the drought is pushing them in our direction but whatever the cause, we're going to have to be careful and stay observant moving forward.

Sunday, August 7, 2022


Sunday is here again.  The days just seem to fly by so quickly.  Still hot here, of course.  Here is some good food and some Hobart, of course.

2nd Man used up some stuff we had in the freezer and pantry.  This is beef stew meat, sautéed and then rice and lentils with tomatoes and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.  Mixed all together with some beef broth and seasonings, it all came together nicely.  Satisfying and best of all, quick and easy.

Here's Hobart!

Sleeping (though momentarily awake for the photo) on another of his favorite blankets, a soft and fuzzy one that he loves to get wrapped up in because...


Friday, August 5, 2022


On Friday in the past we have done a "Friday Food Debate" where we tackle some burning questions of the culinary world, ha. We have expanded it now to other fun and different regional uses of words in addition to food related words.

We haven't done one in a while and figured it was a good time to bring it back. 

This week, the burning question is:

Some might argue that the best part of a luscious cake is the covering that is all over the outside.  Fluffy, creamy, sweet, tangy, thick, soft, neat, rustic, it takes all forms but no matter what form it is, there are really only two names for it:  Frosting.  Or icing.

Now after a little research, there IS a technical difference. Frosting is thicker while icing is thinner, almost like a glaze.  Makes sense when you think about it from that perspective but over the years, both words have been used interchangeably and now they have become a more or less regional way of saying the same thing about the cake decor.  Most Southerners say "icing" no matter what it technically is.  

So what do you call it?

Frosting?  Icing?

Wednesday, August 3, 2022


In this dry, drought embattled time we have, let's see some flowers and remember what it can look like.

A couple of months back, we posted a picture of this plant, our "yesterday/today/tomorrow" plant (notice the green yard, ha).

It was a gift from a coworker a couple of years ago and and we've been taking care of it on the porch until we can get it planted in a special spot.  She told us she had a huge one growing in front of her house.

She found this picture to show us:

This is what the plant grew to look like in front of her house here in town.  Amazing isn't it?

We can only imagine the incredible scent it gives off when this big.  This is why we want to plant it in a special spot where it can grow big and beautiful and we can enjoy it for years to come.  It's going to have to be in a special flowerbed for sure.  In this drought though, we are not getting it in the ground when we are only available to water it once a week.  They have been hard to find in nurseries and it's come this far.

Monday, August 1, 2022


Had to drop off my Jeep before going out because the battery was acting up and sure enough, it was going out.  In this heat down here in this part of the country, our car batteries last about 3 years if you leave your car parked outside most of the day, which I do.

Once that was done, it was off to the farm.  Wasn't sure if I'd have to mow but nope, what green popped up the prior weekend from some brief rains was quickly gone.

Here is a view from last weekend after we had some rain a few days before.  The green was coming back...

...and here is it Saturday when we got there.
Back to brown.

Here is another view of the driveway from a week ago when the green started peeking out...

...and again, Saturday when we got there.  Now this week there are supposed to be some more chances of rain so hopefully that will happen.

Left about 2:30 when it was pretty much 100 degrees.

Hope you are staying cool wherever you are.

Sunday, July 31, 2022


Another week has flown by and here were are, AUGUST is tomorrow?  Where DOES the time go?  Well, time for some yummy food and some funny Hobart!

2nd Man made this the other night.  Chicken and mushroom fettuccine Alfredo.  He makes a simple Alfredo sauce and adds cream of mushroom soup and some sautéed mushrooms.  It was very good.

And here is Hobart acting silly.  When I come home from work he wakes up from wherever he is and comes over to me and falls over on his side and expects a belly rub and a back rub with my foot after I take off my shoes.  He loves it and we love him and so we indulge him because...


Saturday, July 30, 2022


Off to the farm today (after dropping off my Jeep at the shop).   It's hot again.  Farmshark at the end of post.

We need more rain
This was last Saturday at the Farm.  Now we have had some scattered showers a couple of days but from what 2nd Family has said, not much fell at the farm.  We'll see if what did fall greened things up some.  I might have to mow, might not.  We'll see.

Last Saturday at 3:46pm:

103 temp
104 official high
Felt like 115.

Wasp nest
We were out of wasp spray last weekend so the plan this weekend other than watering, is to take care of this nest built INSIDE the porch fan.  I'll walk around and look for others too.

Every year during Shark Week on Discovery Channel, we find some photos of the elusive farm shark that appears from time to time at the farm...

Farmshark in the yard
Um, yeah, I'm good...I can go the shed/barn later.


Friday, July 29, 2022


Regular readers know that I have a favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that people can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoor) near the loading dock where people can put the things they don't want.  I've found quite a few cool items over the last few years.

Here is one of the latest!

(farmshark photo for today is at the bottom of the post)

After some research, we found that this is called a "hostess/teller stand".  Used, obviously by the name, to have signs saying "enter here" or "section reserved" or something like that.  I found it next to the dumpster but  it was loose and leaning.  I thought "well, it's broken, that makes sense why they dumped it".

Then as I picked it up, I realized it was just the pole that was loose.  I held the pole, reached underneath and tightened the nut and then turned the pole the last bit of the way to tighten.  Perfect!  It raises up and down and the sign portion can be vertical or horizontal.  

They sell online for anywhere from about $60 to $100.  It's a bit very dusty but is nothing that some paper towels and cleaner won't fix.  I was even thinking it could be painted in maybe a distressed, farmhouse style.  But what to use it for?

It would be fun to print a dinner menu and put in it or maybe even a special note to display at certain times or events.  It'll be fun.  We'll repurpose it!


Every year during Shark Week on Discovery Channel, we find some photos of the elusive farm sharks that appear from time to time at the farm...

NO, not Bill!  Stay 
away from the truck Mr. Great White, we need this vehicle.